· But admit it can take at least 15 viewings and three months of living in their new house for it to feel like home
According to research from M&S Bank, 80% of Brits feel their house is so much more to them than bricks and mortar. And nearly a fifth (18%) think their house feels like a home as soon as they pick up the keys, while it takes an average of three months for the majority of people.
The M&S Bank study, which was conducted to coincide with the launch of its first mortgage range, found a fifth of Brits look at more than 15 properties before finding ‘the one’.
Overall, Brits feel the need to spend a total of £3,000 on their property before it really becomes a home; homeowners spend more - £5,000 on average - compared to non-homeowners, who spend £1,300. It’s men who spend more than women, an average of £3,100, compared to £2,800 for women.
The M&S Bank research was conducted to explore what truly makes a house feel like a home for Brits, and the results clearly show that it’s key experiences and what’s on the inside that counts for that ‘home’ feeling. For example, the first winter, a family pet and having a first Christmas in the new home all featured in the top ten experiences that turn a house into a home.
Interestingly, the lowest ranking experience needed to achieve the sense of ‘home’ is having the in-laws over, with only 4% of Brits thinking this helps make their house feel homely. And for people from the North East of England this dropped to just 1%, compared with people from the West Midlands, where 6% said this was important.
However, living close to our family is also revealed as something that makes us warm to a home more quickly, with 47% of adults valuing this and over half of women agreeing. Those from the West Midlands declare this is the most important aspect (60%) in creating a sense of ‘home’, compared to just 40% of those based in the South West.
The room we consider to be the heart of the home is actually the living room, according to 62% of Brits, contradicting the common view that it’s the kitchen; just 18% felt this room was the heart of their home.
Brits also agreed that putting clothes in their wardrobe (32%), a good selection of books (23%) and slippers (24%) are some of the essential items that help them feel at home, with 18% stating that having a glass of wine or beer in the evening was key to feeling at home.
Sue Fox, CEO of M&S Bank, said: “So many of us consider our homes to be more than just bricks and mortar – it isn’t just the place where we live – it’s a place of memories and infinite possibilities. It’s the host of good and bad times and everything in between. We spend so much time in our houses that creating this sense of ‘home’ is really important. People will move home on average at least three times so, as we launch our first mortgage range, we wanted to look at how we achieve the feeling of homeliness.”
Despite advances in technology and social media making it easier to connect with family and friends, the research also found that photographs of family members are still key for feeling settled in a new abode, with 75% of adults saying it’s important for them to surround themselves with photographs of their loved ones.
Sue continued: “It’s nice to see that it’s the little things that we need to make our house feel like a home, unpacking our own possessions - such as photographs of friends and family - getting a sense of order by putting our clothes away in a new bedroom, relaxing with a good book and our slippers on in a newly painted room, are amongst the top - and are also some of the easiest - things to do to make a house feel like a home.
“Home items have been available from M&S since its launch in 1884, with new items and ranges added every decade, it’s part of the heritage of the brand, having supported millions of households to create that sense of home. Today we’re delighted to be adding a mortgage range to M&S’s long heritage of home offerings.”
Brits said that January is the most popular month for thinking about moving house (11%), but it’s a popular consideration throughout the year, only dropping as low as 4% in December.
To mark the launch of its first mortgage range, M&S Bank has announced it’s working in partnership with Shelter, the housing and homelessness charity, for every M&S Bank Mortgage taken out, £25 will be donated to Shelter*.
Sue Fox added: “We launched M&S Bank to bring the M&S brand values to banking and in line with these values we wanted to mark this key milestone in our history by supporting Shelter with the fantastic work they do in the fight to end homelessness across the UK.”